Fleet maintenance

Fleet workers win train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 09:13


You can almost hear the grinding of gritted teeth...


Industrial action by LU Fleet workers, and the threat of a three-day strike from 17-20 May, has forced LU bosses into an embarrassing climb-down over their plans to extend train prep schedules. An Employee Bulletin announced the bosses' defeat on 14 May, with the company saying it had "decided not to change the frequencies" of train checks.

Quite simply, the company has caved in, for the very simple reason that fleet workers would have stopped the job if they hadn't! It's trade unionism in action: workers organising to exercise our democratic right to withdraw our labour to defend our conditions at work.

It's good that RMT has not settled the dispute with the company over this matter, which means we will still be able to strike, or take further action, at two weeks' notice if the company tries to bring the plans back in some other form over the next six months.

Hopefully we can use the momentum from this victory to spur us on in other fights, including the fight against "Transformation" job cuts and over LU pay/conditions.

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Strike to defend train safety!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 17:18

Fleet workers have begun their industrial action to defeat extended train prep, by refusing to deliver or participate in training for work outside substantive roles. This action is vital to stop LU training up a scab workforce to cover train prep work while fleet staff are on strike.

Strikes have been called from 07:00 on 17 May to 07:00 on 20 May. It’s good the union has called three days of action, rather than a token one-day strike. This will hit the company hard.

During the strike, drivers need to seriously ask themselves if it’s safe to take out trains that haven’t been adequately prepped.

RMT has also called a demonstration outside City Hall at 09:00 on Thursday 16, the day before the strike, to take the fight directly to the mayor.

Tubeworker topics

Massive Vote to Stop Train Prep Cuts

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 08/04/2019 - 09:43

Fleet maintainers have voted overwhelming for industrial action against LUL management's plan to cut the frequency of train preparation. A combination of strength of feeling about the issue and a solid organising effort by RMT activists saw nearly two-thirds of ballot papers returned, nearly ninety per cent of them voting Yes to strikes and even more than that for action short.

The union is now deliberating on what action to call. It is important to call action quickly, to reflect the urgency and importance of this issue. Serious rather than token action will put pressure on management, with a programme of strikes and other actions that shows the company that it can not just ride out one walkout and expect the issue to go away.

Moreover, this is an issue that effects all of us. Reduced train prep frequency will result in more breakdowns, causing grief for engineers, drivers, station staff and service control. If the company does not back down in the face of action from fleet staff, then all-grades industrial action is our next step.

Fleet workers: vote yes for strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/03/2019 - 11:49

RMT's ballot for strikes and action short of strikes to defend train preparation schedules closes on 2 April. Tubeworker urges all LU Fleet workers to vote yes/yes.

The union must urgently look to spread the dispute if fleet-only action proves insufficient to force management to back down.

Train prep ballot: Vote Yes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 13:10

Management's plan to cut the frequency of train preparation from every 24 hours to every 96 hours will be disastrous for jobs, for safety, and for reliability.

Driven solely by penny-pinching, the cut - if it goes ahead - will see trains going into passenger service which have not been check for up to three days. Given the mileage that a train will have covered during that time, and the range of hazards and stresses it faces over that time, the likelihood of a fault is significant. That's why we check them every day, and why it is vital that we keep checking them every day.

Of course, we all know that. And the company probably knows that too. The question is: what are we going to do about it?

Polite representation will not change the company's mind, as money speaks very much louder to our bosses. Even impolite representation won't work - only industrial action will!

RMT is now balloting its Fleet members for action. We have no doubt that a huge majority will support the call for stikes and action short of strikes. But under Tory anti-union laws, a huge majority is not enough. We now have to reach thresholds which in practice are am unreasonably high bar designed to stop us exeercising our democratic right to withdraw our labour.

Until we get these and other anti-union laws repealed, we need to make sure that we reach these thresholds. So make sure you and all your workmates vote in teh ballot! The days of "It doesnt matter, there will be a Yes vote with or without my vote" are over. A Yes vote is now not enough. Turnout is also crucial.

Bring the Jobs Fights Together!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 14:40

Many grades in many locations are suffering under the destaffing over recent years, or are facing imminent cuts to jobs.

The unions - primarily RMT - are fighting back on several fronts. RMT has scored some successes, including on Bakerloo South stations groups and the cleaning contractor, ABM.

Now, more stations groups are going into action, and the union is gearing up for battles against a 2009 agreement on trains that restricts depot staffing levels, and threatened cuts to train prep.

Moreover, other issues under dispute - for example, the ludicrous red tabards, or unacceptable rosters or ticketing problems - are rooted in staff shortages.

Our fightback will be stronger if we fight the roots cause rather than just the symptoms. The more we can bring these disparate disputes together, the better.

This might be easier said than done, particularly since the imposition of difficult-to-reach ballot thresholds by the 2016 Trade Union Act, but with the will and the effort, it can be done. And even if we don't feel ready to call everyone out on strike yet, we can synchronise ballots and actions in different areas.

Moreover, the root cause has a root cause too, as under-staffing is the result of under-funding. Tubeworker would like to see our unions campaign more stridently against the government's cut to TfL's funding and TfL's failure to fight that cut.

Prepare for battle to defeat cuts to train prep

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:57

RMT has declared an official dispute with the company as LU presses ahead with its plans to extend train prep.

Trains currently have basic safety checks performer on a 24-hourly basis by trained fleet workers, ensuring they’re safe to run. LU is now proposing to extend that massively, up to 96 hours on some lines and on others, essentially doing away with many regular checks entirely and introducing a system where trains are only checked every few months.

This is not only a clear attack on fleet workers’ jobs, it’s a glaring attack on safety that will affect drivers, station staff, and of course the travelling public.

Given the severity of this attack, we need to consider an industrial response that builds for action not only amongst fleet workers, but across the job.

Prepare for action in train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 28/12/2018 - 09:47

RMT has now declared an official dispute with LU over its plans to cut train prep frequency from 24 hours.

The plan, which could see trains run for up to three days without having basic checks performed, threatens staff safety, passenger safety, and jobs, and must be resisted.

If LU doesn’t back down from the planned cut, we must fight back industrially, and across all grades.

More Transplant strikes due on 3 August: the story of the fight so far

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 14:47

Transplant is a department within London Underground, formerly part of TubeLines. Some may know Transplant as the “Ballast Trains”, or maybe the “Engineers Train Unit” (ETU). Due to the nature of work, predominantly carried out under the cover of darkness, some would believe that its just a small setup. The reality is very different. Transplant is a huge scale operation, compromising 270+ vehicles, such as a fleet of battery locomotives; plain line/points and crossing tamping machines; rail cranes; various plant equipment; and a massive fleet of wagons that cater to LUL's engineering requirements.

Transplant workers have been responsible for providing all this equipment across the LUL infrastructure every night to carry out essential maintenance work, and during weekend possessions to support major improvement works across the Tube network. Again, due to the nature of the heavy engineering work and the fact that a lot of the fleet is over 50 years old, the trains themselves require a lot of maintenance. This completed by a small but dedicated team of Train Maintainers whose skills, knowledge, and experience of multiple stocks and lots of different equipment have enabled Transplant to operate for many years.

Workers on Transplant maintenance teams feel they have played, and continue to play, a vital and pivotal role in the success and safe operation of this department and that they should receive recognition for this.

A dispute situation was announced back in 2017 over the issues of pay parity and train preparation payments. RMT began talks with the company before Christmas and felt that good progress had been made and the company had recognised our aspirations of achieving pay parity with the Engineers Train Operators. Because of these assurances the dedicated members of Transplant maintenance felt that this was a reasonable way forward and ensured their support over the Christmas period to the major engineering works. After Christmas a few discussions were held but no agreement reached, action-short-of-strikes was announced and commenced… still no talks. Members of staff felt ignored and like they had been played by management. They had stuck to their side of the bargain: their gesture of goodwill and commitment to support Christmas engineering work based on serious negotiations in the new year.

During the course of this dispute we have found management to actually be some of our best recruiters. Their actions have enraged staff, caused tensions to escalate to boiling point, and have left industrial relations in a state of disrepair.

The new anti-trade union laws passed in 2016 meant we had to re-ballot. A massive majority vote was secured demonstrated a continued determination to fight on. Transplant maintenance workers struck for 24 hours from 12 July. Due to possession works being scaled back, the decision was taken to suspended further strikes planned for 13 and 15 July.

More strikes are now scheduled to take place from 19:00 on Friday 3 August. With planned engineering works slowing from down from September we wonder if management are trying to kick the can down the road. Transplant maintenance workers have been providing an outstanding service, however they having been working at 100% capacity with staff shortages, lack of resources, and lack of investment. The maintenance teams are now required more then ever and with a down turn in engineering work out on the network comes a major up turn in in work for maintenance and workshop staff.

There are recent noticeable changes in the management structure. We hope to resolve this dispute and ensure workplace justice for Transplant maintenance workers for many years to come.

All out at Ruislip!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 02/07/2018 - 13:51

Train maintenance workers at the Ruislip depot will strike over the following times:

07:00 on Thursday 12 July to 07:00 on Friday 13 July
19:00 on Friday 13 July to 07:00 on Saturday 14 July
07:00 on Sunday 15 July to 19:00 on Sunday 15 July

Spreading the strike across several shifts should see maximum impact. This means that the Central Line service could be severely impacted at the same time as the Picc Line drivers’ strike knocks out service on the Picc.

It’s time to give LUL bosses a reminder of who really makes the job run!

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